Greater Manchester health leaders have introduced a new application process for Healthy Start food vouchers amid concerns around food poverty during the coronavirus.

The new application process, which has been welcomed by health leaders, means families no longer need a health professional, such as a midwife or health visitor, to complete and sign the application form.

Healthy start vouchers, worth up to £6.20 a week are available to pregnant women and parents of children under the age of four who receive benefits such as income support or jobseeker’s allowance.

The vouchers can be used to help buy basic healthy foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, milk or infant formula.

Take up of vouchers is low in Bolton, with around £369,597 in vouchers going unclaimed each year. Health leaders hope the new application will help boost the number of families signing up to the scheme.

Jane Pilkington, executive director for population health at Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “Many vulnerable families across Greater Manchester will need help right now to buy healthy food, at a time when health professionals are stretched and have limited capacity.

“Hopefully these changes will help to ease that pressure and encourage pregnant women, parents and carers to claim the Healthy Start vouchers they are entitled to.

“We want all children in Greater Manchester to have the best possible start in life and a healthy, balanced diet is a big part of that.” Visit for more information.